It’s time to get outside in God’s beautiful world!

“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.
Nehemiah 9:6

I love all the seasons, but especially the warmer ones.  I am looking forward to spending lots of time outside.  As you experience the beauty of God’s creation during this season, please remember to share with your children that it IS God’s creation.  Lead them to praise Him. Make up songs about it.  Here’s one suggestion:

https://youtu.be/AbWgeJOMQ4U

Hopefully you will get to take a family trip this summer, maybe to the beach to get sand between your toes. To The Sea by Callie Grant is a book about a day at the beach that young children will enjoy.  The pictures by Jeremy Tugeau make you almost able to smell the sea air. (The author’s mission is to encourage and equip parents to effectively teach their kids about God and His creation, even at a very young age.) (Check out some of her other books on this site here.) In the book the sand castle is washed away by the sea, but the boy builds one on a rock and it stands safe. Play in the sand and tell this parable from Matthew 7:24-29.

Even if you can’t get away this summer, take advantage of every opportunity around you to enjoy God’s beautiful world with your children.  Jesus used visuals from nature as he taught.
Read Matthew 6:25-33 and be ready to share His teachings the next time you are outside observing birds or looking at flowers.

Hike, explore, play in the sand. Start collecting things from nature – moss, feathers, shells, rocks, leaves, seeds, an abandoned bird’s nest or wasp nest.  Make a nature box full of items you can enjoy all year.  And don’t forget to point out that all God’s creation praise Him!

All your works praise you, LORD; your faithful people extol you.
Psalm 145:10

Nature Box

Nature Box

Side Note: Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says to speak of God and His word as we go.  Everything doesn’t have to be related to a Bible verse, but as you discover things on your nature walk you could say, “Think of the wonders of God” (Job 37:14) or “all God’s works praise Him” (Psalm 145:10)

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Give thanks in all circumstances, not just on good days!

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I believe that parents can begin even in the womb to establish God’s Word in their children (From the Womb to the Tomb).  We all hope to have a preventative role with our children rather than a recovery role. But there are no guarantees that they will make all the right choices even when we have laid a firm foundation in the Lord.  We just have to be there to pick them up when they fall (no matter what age they are) and continue to love, pray for, and encourage them in the Way they should go.

Parenting is difficult, demanding, and at times discouraging when all our hard work seems less than enough to guard our children from making detrimental choices. We get tired, disheartened, and disgruntled with the Lord at times.  But God continues to love us and to teach us through it all.

A few weeks ago my friend Lisa shared with me briefly how God is leading her in this journey.  I asked her  to share some of her story in hopes that other moms will be encouraged.

Recently I’ve read the book Power in Praise and it has really changed the way I view my circumstances.  You see, I have two children who have been caught up in addiction for many years, and I have begged and begged my Lord to remove this from their lives.  I’ve also spent a lot of time grumbling and murmuring and feeling sorry for myself.  But never once have I thanked Him for it. 

One afternoon reading and having my quiet time, it hit me like a bolt of lightening –  what if we’ve been stuck in this valley not because of the addiction, but because of me!!  That’s why the Israelites wondered for 40 years.

Today I choose to thank God for the addiction and for the wonderful men my boys will become because of it.  I also thank Him for the growth my husband and I have already experienced.  

1Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in all circumstances, not just on good days!

On a side note, one son has three months clean and the other son continues to keep getting back up! YAY GOD!”

Lisa would be glad to talk with anyone going through similar problems with their children.  You can contact her at: lisa.giddens@yahoo.com  We must encourage each other (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

If you want to read more words of encouragement, check out the other blog posts on this site for hurting parents:  http://www.trainupthechild.org/?s=help+for+Hurting+Parents

There was a time when Billy and Ruth Graham were hurting parents because of their son Franklin.  God brought them and Franklin through the trying years and we have seen Franklin become such a man of God, just like his dad. Check out his autobiography Rebel With A Cause.

Parents, be encouraged, thank the Lord for the struggles, and don’t grow weary in well doing. 

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.
At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
Galatians 6:9

A Week of Ideas to Teach about Love

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Here are some ideas to help you teach your children about showing love during this week of celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Creatively work together to display each day’s verse on the fridge. (cut, color, or paint a heart and put the verse on it)

Repeat the verse often during the day as you reinforce it as you go – here a little, there a little. (Deuteronomy 6:7), (Isaiah 28:10)

Read the Bible stories yourself and then tell them in your own words. Be animated and use visuals when possible.

Have fun establishing God’s Word in your children this week!!!!

Day One

Bible Verse: Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times.

Story: David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18 1-4)

Activity for Baby to 3: Have a friend over to play with child. Tell story of David and Jonathan. Share toys. For infant, spend time talking about and thanking God for all the baby’s friends, after reading story.

Older Activity: Have child help make cookies and then invite a friend over to share them with. Talk about ways to show love to our friends.

Day Two

Bible Verse: 1 John 4:7 – Love one another.

Story: Elisha’s Friends (2 Kings 4:8-11)

Activity for Baby to 3: Tell the story of Elisha and talk about how you prepared a room for baby to show your love for him. Point out things in baby’s room.

Older Activity: Read story. Draw a picture of the story.

Day Three

Bible Verse: Galatians 5:13 – Help one another
Story: Four Friends (Mark 2:1-12)

Activity for Baby to 3: Make Valentines for friends and pray for for their friends as you do.

Older Activity: Same as for Baby to 3

Day Four

Bible Verse: 2 Corinthians 1:24 – We are helpers.

Story: We Work Together – (Nehemiah 1:1-11, 2:1-20, 3:1-32, 6:15-16)

Activity for Baby to 3: Help fold laundry or pick up toys.

Older Activity: Play blocks together and pretend to build the wall as you tell the story. Dads, let child hammer some nails in some scrap wood while you supervise.

Day Five

Bible Verse: Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to one another.

Story: Philip’s New Friend – (Acts 8:1-39)

Activity for Baby to 3: Do something special for baby or child like making him cookies or getting him a new inexpensive toy. Give him a hug and lead child to give someone a hug. Talk about ways he can show kindness.

Older Activity: Read story. Say Philip showed kindness by reading the Bible to his friend and telling him about God. Let’s be kind to our friends and tell them about God. Lead child to send a Bible verse or Bible story to one of his friends.

Learn From Mothers in the Bible and in History

Sarah, Hannah, and Mary are 3 mothers in Scripture that have much to teach us about being a Godly mother.  Check out my husband’s awesome sermon series “How I Met Your Mother” and learn about these special moms.  http://dudleybaptist.org/resources/sermons/

No study of great moms in history would be complete without looking at the life of Susanna Wesley.  Susanna Wesley had 15 children and spent an hour a week with each child individually, helping he or she to be totally submitted to God.

When she was asked about her method of preparing her children for spiritual maturity she replied (I think this is my favorite piece of advice for mothering):

“No one can, without renouncing the world, in the most literal sense, observe my method; and there are few, if any, that would entirely devote above twenty years of the prime of life in hopes to save the souls of their children, which they think may be saved without so much ado; for that was my principal intention, however unskillfully and unsuccessfully managed.” 

Here are some of her methods:

16 Rules of Susanna Wesley

1. Eating between meals not allowed. (3 meals a day – no snacks)

2. As children they are to be in bed by 8 p.m. (starting with the youngest)

3. They are required to take medicine without complaining. (although they did throw up)

4. Subdue self-will in a child, and those working together with God to save the child’s soul. (main point)

5. To teach a child to pray as soon as he can speak. (Lord’s Prayer twice daily – then others)

6. Require all to be still during Family Worship.

7. Give them nothing that they cry for, and only that when asked for politely. (No crying – odious sound – strictly enforced)

8. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed and repented of. (one child trouble, rest readily honest)

9. Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished. (willful disobedience or wrongdoing)

10. Teach children to fear the rod. (spanked them early – not necessary later)

11. Never punish a child twice for a single offense. (once dealt with never mentioned again)

12. Comment and reward good behavior. (this freely and positively done)

13. Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended. (good job – great try)

14. Preserve property rights, even in the smallest matters. (even to a pin, give something away not yours)

15. Strictly observe all promises. (Hers and others)

16. Require no daughter to work before she can read well. (taught Latin, Greek, all subjects – then duties.
               EDUCATION 6 hours a day 5 years old and up) 

Read more about Susanna in the book, Susanna: Mother of the Wesleys

Brothers!!!!

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“He’s adorable – you call him adorable”  These were their first words when Grant and Hudson finally saw their little brother, Ethan Scott, for the first time yesterday.  They may not feel that way about him everyday, but there will always be a deep brotherly love that will be there to help in time of need.

. . . a brother is born to help in time of need.
Proverbs 17:17 

Check out these posts for ways to help promote love and acceptance when a little brother or sister comes to your house:

http://www.trainupthechild.org/2010/09/30/when-a-new-baby-comes-to-your-house/

http://www.trainupthechild.org/2010/10/05/a-brother-is-born-to-help-in-time-of-need/

http://www.trainupthechild.org/2010/10/07/more-of-a-brother-is-born-to-help-in-time-of-need/